Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently described historically black colleges and universities as “pioneers” of the school choice movement, with HBCU leaders from across the United States meeting with President Trump.
How do we contextualize these developments? What is at stake for the historic struggle of Black Americans for citizenship and social justice?
Organized by Peace and Conflict Studies, Sponsored by the Black Cultural Center, the Intercultural Center, Black Studies, Education, History, Sociology & Anthropology, Political Science, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.
From our friends in Educational Studies and the Native American Students Association
Discussion: Decolonizing Education
Educational Studies and the Native American Students Association present a discussion between Professor Edwin Mayorga and Dr. Sandy Grande on the role of education in colonialism and the process of decolonizing the education system.
Sandy Grande is an Associate professor and Chair of the Education Department and the Director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) at Connecticut College. Her research and teaching are profoundly inter- and cross-disciplinary, interfacing critical Indigenous theories with the concerns of education. Her book, Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought (Rowman and Littlefield, 2004) is currently being published in a 10th anniversary edition. She has also published several book chapters and articles including: “Accumulation of the Primitive: The Limits of Liberalism and the Politics of Occupy Wall Street,” The Journal of Settler Colonial Studies. ”Confessions of a Fulltime Indian,” The Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, “American Indian Geographies of Identity and Power: At the Crossroads of Indigena and Mestizaje,” Harvard Educational Review; and, “Red-ding the Word and the World” In, Paulo Freire’s Intellectual Roots: Toward Historicity in Praxis. Bloomsbury Academic. New York, New York. Eds. Robert Lake & T. Kress. (2013).
Edwin Mayorga is an Instructor in the Educational Studies Department and Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) program at Swarthmore College. His research focuses on cultural political economy, U.S. Latinos and urban education & policy, racial/ethnic studies, teacher-lead social movements, and teaching for social justice. Much of his energies are focused on the Education in our Barrios Project, a digital, critical participatory action research (D+CPAR) project that centers on working alongside youth in Latino core communities in Philadelphia and New York City. He is co-editor of the book: What’s Race Got to Do with It? How Current School Reform Maintains Racial and Economic Inequality (Peter Lang; 2015; co-edited with B. Picower). At Swarthmore he is also co-leading the Critical Education Policy Studies group. Prior to Swarthmore, he was an elementary school teacher in New York City and was a member of the educator-activist group, the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE).
Lee Smithey had the opportunity to meet up in Belfast, Northern Ireland with Dee Craig a couple of weeks ago. Dee is the artist who painted the mural on the Science Center here at Swarthmore. (See photos, video, and more.)
Here is his latest piece on the Newtownards Road in East Belfast!
Dee sends warm greetings to all of his friends at Swarthmore!
Many thanks to Swarthmore’s News and Information Office for this piece that has appeared on the College’s webpage. Congratulations again to Elowyn Corby!
Elowyn Corby ’13 Wins Peace and Justice Studies Thesis Award
by Jenni Lu ’16
October 21, 2013
Elowyn Corby ’13 presented her winning thesis at the Peace and Justice Studies Association’s awards banquet this past weekend.
If you want to be heard, speak up. It’s a basic concept that has driven the progression of democracy, the rise of cohesive communities, and now, Elowyn Corby’s [’13] thesis research, which recently caught the attention of the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA).
Titled “Training for Change: Moving from Theory to Practice in Adult Education for Empowerment,” Corby’s thesis garnered her the association’s 2013 Undergraduate Student Thesis Award. Corby, a peace education and political science major with a minor in conflict studies from Santa Cruz, Calif., accepted the award and presented her work this past weekend at PJSA’s annual meeting in Waterloo, Ontario.
Participation supports both the individual and the collective, according to Corby. It allows for the formation of social trust and social connection between people and within a society, and prevents communities from becoming too insular and controlling. However, participation has always been unevenly distributed.
“What we see is certain people getting heard a lot, often because they tend to participate a lot,” she says. “The government listens to those who participate. My question was, how does education tie into this? We know we need democratic skills and participatory skills. How do we get there? Is that something that can be trained?”
Corby’s hope was to determine whether activism training could reduce the inequalities that typically arise out of the most common way people develop activism skills: in the workplace.
“The experience that you accrue in the workplace is very biased along racial and socioeconomic lines,” she explains. “So if you’re developing leadership experience in the workplace, it’s much more likely that you’re a white male from a privileged socioeconomic background than you’re a person of color, or a woman, from a working class background.”
For her research, Corby chose to focus on Training for Change, an activism training organization that she had been in contact with since her freshman year at Swarthmore. Using them as a case study, she conducted 278 surveys and seven long-form interviews over the span of a year and a half.
“Statistically, Training for Change does increase [participants’] democratic confidence and how much they can engage in issues they care about across the board,” Corby says. “They engage more frequently, they attend more meetings, they run more meetings.”
However, Corby also stumbled upon a second discovery. Not only did Training for Change equalize the participatory playing field, it did so by exponentially increasing activism skills among people of color.
“Training for Change is not only increasing democratic participatory skills,” she says, “but it’s also doing it in a way that disproportionately affects communities that are much more likely to be silenced by our current democratic system. So it’s combating larger social inequalities.”
Corby’s findings have solidified her staunch belief that anyone can become an activist, and hopes that her research can compel more people to consider the inequalities found in current activist participation in a new light. It’s just a matter of channeling your passion and honing your skills.
“I think one of the things that holds activism training back is that it’s not understood very well,” she says. “It’s not seen as something that’s actually viable for facilitating and catalyzing social change. So there’s a lot of need for activism training.”
Corby credits her advisers, Associate Professor of Educational Studies Diane Anderson and Associate Professor of Sociology Lee Smithey, with providing support and encouragement. “Lee in particular spent hours and hours with me going over the data and number crunching,” Corby says. “I feel strange taking credit for this because it was all of us.”
An investigation of education as a cultural event that engages issues of identity, difference, and power. The course explores a set of key tensions in the contested areas of multiculturalism and multicultural education: identity and difference; peace and conflict; dialogue and silence; and culture and the individual psyche. Students will apply theory and practice to global as well as specific, localized situations — communities and schools that contend with significant challenges in terms of equity and places where educators, students, and parents are trying out ways of educating for diversity and social justice. Fieldwork of two to three hours per week.
Prof. Cohen explains that the course emphasizes multiculturalism and the study of power as central to education, peace, and justice.
The course is structured to recognize and explore a set of key tensions within and surrounding the contested areas of multicultural and peace and conflict education:
identity/sameness and diversity/difference
dialogue and silence
peace and conflict
culture and the individual psyche
We examine these tensions in terms of a range of conceptual frameworks which point to such matters as the issue of power in pedagogy and curriculum; the role and problematics of dialogue in teaching and learning; and the challenges and promise of addressing conflict, e.g. ethnic and religious tensions, and promoting peace via education. We apply theoretical constructs to broad as well as specific, localized situations — communities and schools that contend with significant challenges in terms of equity and where educators, students, and parents trying out ways of educating for diversity and social justice.
The class meets Monday / Wednesday 2:30pm-4:00pm.
[Note: Enrollment is limited to 25 students with priority given to students pursuing certification, the Bi-Co minor in Educational Studies, or the Tri-Co Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice Studies concentration.]
In the wake of the Newtown, CT shootings and a renewed national conversation over gun control, “Peace Studies and Action” PEAC 077 will partner this spring with GunCrisis.org, an open source reporting community developed to address the epidemic of homicide by gunfire in Philadelphia through online journalism and social media.
Peace Studies and Action aims to bridge the gaps between peace research, theory, and implementation by encouraging students to move between each as we study nonviolent ways of conducting conflict and the challenges of developing and sustaining effective peace work, like GunCrisis.org. Emphasis is placed on getting close to the experience of peacemakers and activists by reading autobiographical writings, visiting local peace organizations, and/or dialogue with invited guests. As a class, we will collaborate with GunCrisis.org to contribute to the work of the organization while developing our own research skills.
Discussion over course readings and exploration of peace studies literature will also be emphasized. This course will encourage collaboration and active participation in delivering the content of the course.
The spring semester begins on Martin Luther King day, and as on many topics, Dr. King illuminates peace studies with his vision for education:
“Education without social action is a one-sided value because it has no true power potential. Social action without education is a weak expression of pure energy. Deeds uninformed by educated thought can take false directions. When we go into action and confront our adversaries, we must be as armed with knowledge as they. Our policies should have the strength of deep analysis beneath them to be able to challenge the clever sophistries of our opponents.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr. Where Do We Go from here: Chaos or Community? (p. 155)
The class will meet on Tuesdays 1:15-4:00 in the Lang Center Seminar Room (#106).
The pre-requisite of PEAC 015 Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies has been suspended, so the course is open to all students.
For a brief introduction to the problem of gun violence in Philadelphia, view this short video by Jim MacMillan, a founder of GunCrisis.org and Journalist in Residence at Swarthmore.